I make no bones about my dislike of the disorganized, messy and chaotic way the Western Left approaches protest. I’m not a proponent of lock-step marching as protest either; but I’m just looking for cohesion, a phalanx of ideas if you will.
It seems that hippies will decide, as a group to get together to protest “something” but will often show up
and have their concepts all over the place. The Majority will be on line with the main concept “We Quite Like Tea!” and there will inevitably be some spoilers “We like CHINESE TEA! Those INDIAN Tea lovers can get stuffed!” So the two (or more) factions will be a cacophony of ideals and colors and their chaotic presentation is lost to the “squares” as “Dirty Hippies can’t get it together over their Love of Tea”
They all love Tea, but, you know, can’t agree what brand of Tea. They don’t fight over it, but they all want their message to be heard. Ostensibly the protest comes off a cracking success, hundreds of people getting together to tell the world about the Tea and so on; but to the outside it’s just a bunch of students with more time than sense.
Protest over, it’s left to the organizers to either determine if the “Squares” got it; or if the whole thing should have been thrown over for a good game of Ultimate Frisbee or just a funky Drum Circle session. I think, perhaps, that self-evaluation is not really coming off for the team; since the very next protest is inevitably loud, disorganized and those Chinese Tea bastards are there, working against the rest of the group. I don’t think the protesters refer to each other as “bastards” but in my head they are all from the UK and they love beer.
So, what to do? Get REALLY organized! No outside signs, everyone has signs along the same theme, no sub-protests on the virtue of some other ethos. Everyone marches, bangs, sings and dances to the same BASIC tune. Variations on the theme are fine, as long as we are all on the same page, not to mention the same book.
some practical advice for the modern protester
- If you are protesting “The Iraq War” don’t muddy it up with Palestinian Rights and Reproductive Rights protests in the same group. Have those marches on another day.
- No one gets your in-jokes except for the other hippies, ask your uptight relatives for input on your visual jokes to make sure that they can appreciate the message. Failing that, ask the local College Republican to look at it. If they get the joke, and appreciate the message, give yourself a Check Plus and hoist that visual metaphor with pride.
- No Drugs at the Protest, unless the protest is ABOUT DRUGS. You want to be taken seriously, be straight faced and sober. Simple as that. I got a contact buzz from the last protest I was NEAR, not in, NEAR. If it wasn’t for the stiff breeze I might have had to break out the Phish.
- Figure out the phalanx, if the police start hauling you away, lock arms and legs and hold tight in groups of 10 or more. It devastated armies, it can keep you and your friends from being hauled into vans.
- Stop respecting “Free Speech Zones” – This may sound like an incitement to riot, but please. Freedom of Assembly (except when we say so) and Freedom of Speech (only in certain circumstances). Step one in civil disobedience class should be how to take down those damn fences without getting killed or stomped by the police put in place to protect them.
So, there you have it. The next time you take to the streets en masse to profess your love for all things Tea, you are all set with these simple pieces of advice. See you on May Day!
You can check out more photographs at: Flickr